The President of the Independent Contractors Association of BC says it will take more than Ottawa removing the GST on new rental housing projects to make up for decades of under-construction.
In an interview with Vista Radio, Chris Gardner stated if we truly want to make a dent in the housing crisis, all three levels of government need to be working more cohesively.
“In 1972, we built about 232 thousand new homes and that was when our population was about 22 million. Last year, fifty years later, we built fewer new homes across Canada, roughly 220 thousand in a population that was touching 40 million.”
He added while a policy change from Parliament Hill is a good first step, a lot more is needed to fix our housing crisis.
“This is a national crisis. It is not just a crisis in urban areas – this across every major urban centre and is something on the announcement, on one lever is not going to solve.”
Furthermore, Gardner believes the process to green-light new housing construction at the municipal level needs to be a lot less restrictive.
“Municipalities have got to be able to approve projects faster. It simply takes too long to get housing projects approved – it shouldn’t take two, three, four years to get projects approved by city council.”
“City has to be able to streamline some of this stuff. Everything you do to your home shouldn’t need a permit from city hall especially when most of it doesn’t involve life safety issues – especially when you have mechanical and electrical contractors and architects who are experts and certified. We need to be relying more on them to be doing those sorts of approvals.”
“If you want to build a deck on the back of your house, why do you need a permit from city hall to do that? Why can’t you call licensed professionals to come in and they build your deck? It’s kind of like fixing your car, when you fix your car you don’t go to city hall to get a permit you go to a mechanic’s garage and they fix it for you. But, we approach home building and home renovation in an entirely different way,” added Gardner.
Gardner adds the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation noted our country will need to build 800-thousand new homes every year between now and 2030 to shore up affordability and housing supply – nearly four times the rate of new homes that were built in Canada all of last year.
Earlier today (Monday), the provincial government announced new measures to help create more housing. The NDP is speeding up permitting to building more secondary suites for rent.
The Single Housing Application Service is expected to deliver more homes faster by creating a simpler permitting application for homebuilders.
The service will help clear permitting backlogs while maintaining environmental standards.
The province expects permit timelines to be reduced by two months.
In addition, the Province has launched a new comprehensive guide, titled Home Suite Home. It provides people with the information to prepare to build and manage a rental suite in BC.
This follows recent steps to make improvements at B.C.’s Residential Tenancy Branch, including more timely dispute resolutions.
The guide can also be used as a resource for people preparing to access the Secondary Suite Incentive Program (SSIP).
The pilot program, set to launch next spring, will provide approximately 3,000 homeowners with forgivable loans of up to $40,000 to create a new secondary suite or accessory dwelling unit on their property.